Friday, October 18, 2013

Oregon Will Recognize Out-of-State Same Sex Marriages For Purposes Of Tax and Benefit Laws

In Oregon, an Oct. 16 opinion of the Deputy Attorney General (full text) concludes that state agencies can and should recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in other states, for purposes of administering tax laws and benefit programs. Oregon permits same-sex domestic partnerships, and under the Oregon Family Fairness Act, domestic partners are entitled to the same benefits as married couples.  This week's opinion allows similar treatment for couples not registered as domestic partners in Oregon but validly married elsewhere, despite Oregon's state constitutional provision (Art. XV, Sec. 5a) prohibiting same-sex marriage. The opinion concludes that construing the constitutional provision to prohibit the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages would likely violate the federal constitution. BuzzFeed discusses the opinion and reprints a memo from the state Department of Administrative Services to state agency directors directing that "Oregon agencies must recognize all out-of-state marriages for the purposes of administering state programs." [Thanks to Dale Carpenter at Volokh Conspiracy for the lead.]